National Catholic Register

Paul Ryan & Subsidiarity

Ever since Congressman Paul Ryan announced his budget plan, claiming that it was inspired by his understanding of Catholic social teaching (CST) in general and subsidiarity in particular, old debates about the meaning of CST have flared up once again. Michael Sean Winters of NCR blasted Ryan’s conception of “subsidiarity”; then Stephen White of Catholic Vote critiqued some of Winter’s own oversimplifications. Since everyone and their aunt in the Catholic blogosphere will weigh in on this at some point, I’ll get it over with and throw in my two-cents now.

First: I do believe that some of Ryan’s statements are oversimplifications. For instance, he claimed that subsidiarity and federalism were more or less synonyms for one another. They are not. Stephen White pointed out that these concepts are complimentary, however, and they are.

Secondly: Winters, and he is not alone in this, repeats Vatican statements about “access” to health care as if they were an exact equivalent with Obamacare or other types of government-run healthcare schemes. As White pointed out, Winters presents his leftist policy preferences as non-negotiable points of CST.

Third: I think the entire framework of this discussion needs a serious overhaul.

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Archbishop Chaput and the Media

One of the most irritating aspects of life for faithful American Catholics over the past several decades has been how quiet most of our bishops have been in the face of outrageous attacks on the Church.  Too many of our bishops have acted as if they had their spines surgically removed upon consecration.  Fortunately there have always been a handful who have been willing to speak out and suffer the media attacks that then ensue, along with the ambushes of heterodox Catholics frequently eager to lend a hand to anti-Catholics in their ceaseless war against the Church.  One of the more outspoken bishops is Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who has never been afraid to proclaim the truth, and to do so eloquently.  He is at it again over at First Things.

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Interview On the Radio Today at 5pm Eastern

I will be interviewed on the radio today at 5pm (Eastern) on the In His Sign Network radio station.  They are a lay Catholic radio apostolate located in Rosemont, PA.  They broadcast daily live from 5 to 6pm (Eastern) WTMR-800 AM and on the Internet at www.inhissign.com.

The interview will be about The American Catholic and the other Catholic websites that I operate as well as my work on the National Catholic Register.

This is my first interview and it is an already humbling experience.  Pray for me that I won’t make a fool of myself!

Vote for the National Catholic Register

The secular website About.com is running a contest of which is the Best Catholic Newspaper (among many other categories).  I’d like our readers to go visit their website to vote for the National Catholic Register as their choice (if it’s not your choice, move along and read the other articles here on our website).

The National Catholic Register is America’s oldest Catholic newspaper as well as being the most read and well written.  They hold fidelity to the teachings of the Magisterium so you know you’re getting high quality articles.

To vote for the National Catholic Register please click here.

Is There a Liturgical Counterrevolution Underway? I Hope So.

There have been a number of conflicting reports about impending changes to the liturgy in recent weeks. The National Catholic Register, on the one hand, reports that:

On Aug. 22, the reliable Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli reported that cardinals and bishops of the congregation voted almost unanimously at their plenary meeting in March “in favor” of 30 proposals aimed at increasing reverence in the liturgy. He said these included “a greater sacrality of the rite, the recovery of the sense of Eucharistic worship, the recovery of the Latin language in the celebration, and the remaking of the introductory parts of the Missal in order to put a stop to abuses, wild experimentations and inappropriate creativity.”

Tornielli also wrote that the bishops had reaffirmed the importance of receiving Communion on the tongue rather than the hand, and that Cardinal Cañizares was studying the possibility of “recovering” the practice of celebrating Mass with the priest facing ad orientem (literally “to the east”; i.e. in the same direction as the people).

As we might expect, however, the National Catholic Reporter remains skeptical about any proposed changes:

On Aug. 24, a Vatican spokesperson effectively denied the Il Giornale report, saying, “At the moment there are no institutional proposals regarding changes to the liturgical books currently in use.” Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s No. 2 official after the pope, dismissed the reports as “fantasies” in an interview with the Vatican newspaper.

So it would appear that, as of right now, all we can say is that there are discussions about the liturgy taking place.

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Res et Explicatio for AD 9-7-2009

Salvete AC readers!

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in the world of Catholicism:

1. Sadly most of us will miss the Catholic Report blog run by Dave Hartline.  Due to pleasant new circumstances of a new member of the family, Dave will be rolling back some of his extra-curricular activities to attend to his growing family.  In addition Dave will be the newest contributor to the American Catholic website and joining our family of writers.

2. Since First Things began gobbling up good bloggers such as Spengler, Wesley J. Smith, and Elizabeth Scalia and adding writers such as the American Catholic’s own Christopher Blosser, Jay Anderson, and Joseph Bottum under the First Thoughts blog, their website has gotten a WHOLE lot better.  Many interesting stories and newsbites all neatly marketed in a spiffy new look.

I suggest you all check it out here.

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Interview with Alphonse Creator Matthew Lickona

I posted a while back about the publication of Alphonse, a graphic novel written by Matthew Lickona and drawn by Chris Gugliotti. I’ve since had a chance to read Alphonse, Issue One and enjoyed it. It’s an off-beat and dark story, but a very evocative one. Alphonse’s mother is a serious druggie — long in denial about the fact she is pregnant. When she shows up at a women’s health clinic, 34 weeks pregnant, she insists that she can’t go through with the pregnancy, and a doctor agrees to provide an abortion and hysterectomy. However, Alphonse is not your ordinary, helpless child of 34 weeks gestation. He is, through fate or the harsh mix of chemicals his mother’s habits have exposed him to, aware of her thoughts and his danger, and also unusually coordinated for his size and age.

In the first issue we see his escape from the abortion clinic, and his rescue by a pro-life protester who takes him home and begins to nurse him through the withdrawal which removal from his mother’s chemical habits causes. A man of action despite standing under twenty inches tall, Alphonse seems poised to bring about changes in the intersecting lives of a number of characters.

Alphonse is not a political cartoon or simple message book. It is a gritty fantasy told in a macabrely inventive visual style — using a fantastic situation to explore a topic which is often considered radioactive in our society. Abortion is a topic which many seek to pigeonhole quietly by declaring a “tragedy”. Alphonse seeks to be the Macbeth to this tragedy — bloody, bold and resolute.

Author Matthew Lickona agreed to answer a set of questions for me in order to provide you with this interview.

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